Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Daughter I Used to Be

I don't like to be touched.  My personal space is hallow ground. Step too close and I might bark or give you a swift kick to the knee.

My mom's a hugger and a kisser - to EVERYONE.  Be careful because you might meet my mom on the street one day.  And if you look down or disheartened, don't be surprised if a four foot nine, redheaded, 78 year old, looks you empathetically in the eye and with an impish smile, rushes up to give you a big hug and a kiss.  You think I'm kidding?

One thing that annoys my mother is when some of her friends during a conversation keep touching her on the knee or arm every few seconds to get her attention or to emphasize a point.  She tells me this all the while she is touching my arm every few seconds to keep my attention and to emphasize a point.

After about the ninth tip touch, I can't take it anymore, "Mami, stop doing that, okay?"  "What?"

Living with all that love, empathy, and need for human connection, finally got to me. I can't help myself. At our martial art school, students are regularly greeted with big hugs and a few kisses.  Children and adults stay with us for five years or more so they become closer to family than clients. My mother taught me that people all need to feel wanted, welcomed, and understood.  Instead of being the growling grouch of my youth,  I have become a loving, hugging fool.

Vodkamom posted some posts about her mother that got me thinking again about my dear Mami.  I realized that as you get older, real intimacy is sometimes lost between a parent and child. There are a lot of grandchildren and my brother and sisters, and there is plenty of love, but intimate moments are few yet cherished by her.  My dad is not a demonstrative man, very closed, never was.  My mom is a complete opposite.  She needs lots of love, but she is not too selfish.  Because what she gives will tenfold exceed what she needs.

So at church today, watching the multitude of children in our congregation, and I mean multitude, I witnessed the little one's need to hold a parents' hand or to be picked up in those loving, safe arms. The complete bond, that oneness between mother and child was something my mom hasn't experienced for a long, long time. So I decided to be her little girl again.

I slipped my hand into hers as a five year old would, and we held hands the whole service, as daughter and mother, reliving the oneness we used to feel.

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